Following the Allahabad High Court's directive for a scientific investigation of the Shivling discovered at the Gyanvapi mosque compound, an application was filed before the Varanasi district court for a survey of the entire mosque premises, to be carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The district court accepted the application and scheduled it for further hearing on 22 May after inviting objections until 19 May.
Five women had filed an application in the court of District Judge Dr Ajaya Krishna Vishvesha, seeking permission to pray at a specific location within the complex, dubbed "a Shringar Gauri Sthal."
As a result of their petition, a Civil Judge (Senior Division), Varanasi, ordered a videographic inspection.
In May of last year, the inspection uncovered a structure on the mosque premises which was disputed by both the Hindu and Muslim factions; the Hindus claimed it to be a "Shivling," while the Muslims insisted it was a "fountain."
That the new application requests a survey of the entire Gyanvapi mosque premises and not just the temple was confirmed to The Indian Express by Special Counsel Rajesh Mishra, who is representing the State in the case.
Last year, a survey uncovered a dome beneath one of the three domes of the mosque, and petitioners claim it is the dome of a temple that once stood there.
Along with the dome, a staircase was also discovered, which the petitioners believe should be investigated using scientific methods, Mishra told the newspaper.
The Allahabad High Court on 12 May directed the ASI to conduct a scientific investigation of a Shivling found at the Gyanvapi mosque premises in Varanasi.
The court ordered the ASI to appear before the Varanasi District Judge on 22 May.
According to the court's ruling on the civil revision filed by Laxmi Devi and three others, a scientific investigation of the site can be suitably carried out without harming the Shivling or site in question.
The court believes that after the investigation, the Shivling or site will continue to remain preserved and protected.
This overall impression is based on a careful perusal of the ASI report.
The investigation aims to determine the age, nature, and status of the site, and the court has allowed it to proceed.
The High Court passed the order after studying the original 52-page report from the Superintending Archaeologist of ASI, Sarnath Circle, which they received in April.
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